Megdal: The New York Mets operate like a Ponzi scheme

From SABR member Howard Megdal at Vocativ on December 21, 2015:

It’s hard to overstate the opportunity the New York Mets currently enjoy. It’s no less hard to overstate the absurdity of how little they are doing to capitalize on it.

The Mets own the rights to the finest young stable of starting pitchers in baseball. Further, thanks to the strange economics of baseball—under which a player earns little more than the league minimum for his first three years and then enters a controlled arbitration process that limits raises for three years after that—the Mets’ quartet of great young hurlers will never be less expensive than they are now. The four—Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, plus homegrown closer Jeurys Familia—will make around $9.5 million next year.

Considering how much it costs to buy pitching on the free agent market—the San Francisco Giants, for example, have a starting five that will cost $70,616,666 next season—this theoretically frees up the Mets to leverage their young, cost-controlled pitching with enough offense to dominate baseball for the foreseeable future.

But that’s not how this is going down. Because the New York Mets’ owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, are drowning in debt.

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Originally published: December 21, 2015. Last Updated: December 21, 2015.